Horace Greeley.

The American conflict: a history of the great rebellion in the United States of America, 1860-'64 online

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enjoyed the prestige of several bril-
liant and profitable successes, while
the Union forces everywhere fled be-



fore them, or made a stand only to be
routed; yet the number of recruits
to their standard was confessedly
moderate. Excepting in a few of
the rich slaveholdhig counties around
Lexingt<m, and in that south-western
portion of the State which Bragg
failed to reach, those in sympathy
with the Rebellion were everywhere
a decided and in xnany counties an
inconsiderable minority.**



The transfer of Gen. Halleck to
Washington had left Gen. Grant in
command of the district of West Ten^
nessee, with his headquarters at Jack-
son or at Bolivar, while Gen. 6ose-
crans was left in command in north-
em Mississippi and Alabama, when
Gen. Buell, taking ** two of his divi-
sions, moved northward in pursuit of
Bragg. Rosecrans was at Tuscum-
bia when advised,** by telegram from
Gen. Grant, that a considerable Rebel
force was moving northward between
them, and that its cavalry had al-
ready attacked Bolivar, and cut the
line of railroad between that post and
Jackson. Hereupon, leaving luka in
charge of Col. R. C. Murphy, 8th
Wisconsin, Rosecrans moved east-
ward with Stanley's division to his
old encampment at Clear creek, sev-
en miles from Corinth. Murphy pre-
cipitately abandoned his post oif the
approach of the Rebel cavalry, allow-
ing a large amount of stores, with 680
barrels of flour, to fall into the hands
of the enemy. A reconnoissance in



"Oct 30.

" Pollard gays:

** It is to be admitted that the South was bit-
terly disappointed in the manifestations of pub-
lic sentiment in Kentucky; that the exhibitions
of sympathy in this State were meager and senti-
mental, and amounted to but little practical aid
of our cause. Indeed, no subject was at once
more dispiriting and perplexing to the South
than the cautiouB and unmanly reception given



to our armies both in Kentudcy and Maryland.
The references we have made to the sentiment
of each of these States leaves but little room to
doubt the general condusion, that the dread of
Yankee vengeanoe and love of proparty were
too powerful to make them take risks against
these in favor of a cause for which their people
had a mere preferanee, without any attachments
to it higher than those of selfish calculation.*'
" Aug. 20. » About Sept 1.



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BOSEOBANS ATTACKS PBIOB AT ITJKA.



QEN.R0SC0RAK8'
FORMER HoQRa.




force, under Ool. Mower, haying Bat-
iflfied Eosecrans that the Rebel army
under Qen. Price now occupied luka,
he BO advised Gen. Grant; who there-
upon resolved on a combined attack,
sending down Gen. Ord, with some
6,000 men, to Bumsville, seven miles
west of luka, and following from
Bolivar with such troops as could be
spared to reenforce him. Ord was
to move on luka from the north;
while Bosecrans, with Stanley's, was
to rejoin his remaining division, un-
der Hamilton, at *Jacinto, nine miles
south of Bumsville, thence advancing
<m Price from the south. This con-
centration was duly effected;^ and
Qen. Grant, who had now reached
Bumsville, was advised that Bose-
crans would attack luka, 19^ miles



from Jacinto, between 2^ and 4r|
p. M. next day.

Bosecrans moved accordingly, at
3 A. M," in light marching order,
duly advising G^n. Grant ; and was
within 7i miles of luka at noon, hav-
ing been driving in the enemy's skir-
mishers for the last two miles. Dis-
appointed in hearing no guns from
Ord's column, he did not choose to
push his four brigades against the
more numerous army in their front
on separate roads, which precluded
their reciprocal support, but advanced
slowly — Hamilton's division in front
— ^up to a point two miles from luka,
where a cross-road connected that
from Jacinto^ on which he was mov-
ing, with the road leading south-east-
ward from luka to Fulton ; where,



' Sept 18.



" Sept. 19.



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234



THE AMEEIOAK CONFLICT.



at 4 P. iL, the Rebels were found
drawn np in force, holding a strong
position along a deep ravine crossing
the main road, and behind the crest
of a hill. Here our skirmishers were
driven back on the head of the col-
umn in advance, which was suddenly
saluted with a heavy fire of musketry,
grape, canister, and shell, under which
the 11th Ohio battery was with diffi-
culty brought into position, with the
6th Iowa, Col. Matthias, and 26th
Missouri, Col. Boomer, supporting it;
the 48th Indiana, Col. Eddy, posted
a little in advance of the battay, on
the left of the road, holding their
ground under a terrible fire; while
the 4th Minnesota, Capt. Le Gro,
and 16th Iowa, Col. Chambers, were
hurried up to their support. The
nature of the ground forbidding any
extension of our front, the battle was
{hus maintained by a single brigade,
against at least three times their
numbers, imtil Col. Eddy was killed;
when the remnant of his raiment
was hurled back in disorder and our
advanced battery clutched by the
Rebels ; but not till its every horse
had been disabled and every officer
killed or wounded. A charge was
instantly made to recover it, and the
guns were repeatedly taken and re-
taken ; but they were finally dragged
off the field by the Rebels, only to be
abandoned in their fiight from luka.
Stanley's division had meantime
come up, pushing forward the 11th
Missouri to the front ; where, uniting
with the 5th Iowa and 26th Missouri,
it first checked the Rebel advance
and then drove it back to the shelter
of the ravine; while Col. Perczel,
with the 10th Iowa and a section of
Immell's battery, repulsed a Rebel



attempt to turn our left. Col.
Boomer fell, severely wounded, and
darknesfl at length closed the battle :
our men lying down on their arms,
expecting to renew the struggle n6xt
morning ; Glen. Stanley himself being
at the fix)nt, along with Brig.-Gen.
Sullivan and Col. J. B. Sanborn,
who had bravely and skillftdly
directed the movements of Hamil-
ton's two brigades ; but not a regi-
ment of Stanley's division, save the
11th ^ssouri, had been enabled to
participate in the action ; and not a
shot had been fired from the direc-
tion whence Ord's advance had been
confidently expected — ^the excuse for
this being that Ord had only ex-
pected to attack after hearing the
sound of Rosecrans'sguns ; and these
a high wind from the north-west pre-
vented his hearing at alL

Ord had been watching a Rebel
demonstration from the south and
west upon Corinth — which proved a
mere feint — ^but had returned to
Bumsville at 4 p. M.," when he was
directed by Grant to move his entire
force — ^which had been swelled by
the arrival of Ross's division — to
within four miles of luka, and there
await the sound of Rosecrans's guns.
Ross, in his advance, reported to him
a dense smoke arising from the direc-
tion of luka; whence he inferred
that Price was burning his stores
and preparing to retreat. Next
morning, hearing guns in his front,
Ord moved rapidly into luka, but
found no enemy there ; Price having
retreated on the Fulton road during
the night. Ord, leaving Crocker's
brigade to garrison luka, returned
directly, by order, to Corinth ; while
Rosecrans — ^having first sent Stan-



■Sept 19.



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VAN DORN ATTACKS BOSBOBANS AT COBINTH.



225



ley's division into luka and found
it abandoned — turned on the trail of
the BebelB, and followed until night ;
but found they had too much start to
be overtaken.

Hamilton reports that, in this afiair
of luka, not more than 2,800 men
on our side were actually engaged,
against a Sebel force of 11,000, hold-
ing a chosen and very strong posi-
tion. Eosecrans reports our total
loss in this battle at 782—144 killed,
598 wounded, and 40 missing ; and
that we buried on the field 265
Kebels, while 120 more died in hos-
pital of wounds here received ; 342
more were left wounded in hospital
by the Rebels, and 361 were made
prisoners. He estimates that they
carried off 350 more of their less
severely wounded; making their
total loss 1,438. He states that he
captured 1,629 stand of arms, 13,000
rounds of ammunition, beside large
quantities of equipments and stores.
Pollard says that the Bebel loss ^' was
probably 800 in killed and wounded."



Price retreated to Eipley, Miss.,
where he united with a still stronger
Bebel force, imder Van Dom, who
had been menacing Corinth during
the conflict at luka, but had retreated
after its dose, and who now assumed
command, and, marching northward,
struck the Memphis Bailroad at
Pocahontas, considerably westward
of Corinth, thence pushing " rapidly
down the road to* Chewalla, widi
intent to surprise, or at least storm,
Corinth next day. Bosecrans — who
had received** his promotion to a
Hajor-Generalship directly afi;er the
affidr at luka — ^had been left in chief
command at Corinth by Grant, who



had returned tb his own headquarters'
at Jackson, withdrawing Ord's divi-^
sion to Bolivar. Bosecrans had in and
about Corinth not far from 20,000
men — too few to man the extensive
works constructed around it by Beau-
r^ard, when he held that position
against Halleck's besieging army.
Bealizing this, Bosecrans had hastily
constructed an inner line of fortifica-
tions, covering Corinth, especially
toward the west, at distances of a
mile or so from the center of the
village. Promptly advised by his
cavalry of the formidable Bebel
movement northward, until it struck
the line of his communications with
Grant, he supposed its object to be
Bolivar or Jackson, and Uiat only a
feint would be made on Corinth ; but
he was prepared for any emergency,
having his forces w%ll in hand and
thrown out westward, into and
beyond Beauregard's fortifications
already mentioned. Hamilton held
the right, with Davies in the center,
and McKean on the left ; while three
raiments, under Col. Oliver, were
thrown out in advance on the Che-
walla road, down which the Bebels
were advancing.

Van Dom moved at an early hourj
and, forming in order of battle at a
distance from our outworks, his
right, under Gen. Mansfield Lovell^.
encountered, at 7i a. m.,'* our left,
advance, under CoL Oliver, holding,
a hill which afforded a strong posir^
tion, and a broad and extensive view^
of the country beyond it. He had
orders to hold it pretty firmly, so a^
to compel the enemy to develop his>
strength.

Bosecrans, still distrusting that this^
attack was more than a feint, dch



"Cot 2.
VOL. n. — 15



*« Sept 30.



"Oct 3.



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826



THE AICKBIOAN COHFLIGT.




signed to cover a movement on Boli-
var and Jackson, at 9 o'clock sent
Gen. McArthur to the front, vrho
reported widespread but slack skir-
mishing, and said the hill was of
great value to test the strength of our
assailants. McArthur, finding him-
self hotly assailed, called up four
more regiments from McKean's divi-
sion, and continued what by this time
had become a serious engagement,
until a determined Kebel charge, in-
terposing between his right and the
left of Gen. Davies, forced him
rapidly back from the hill, with the
loss of 2 heavy guns ; thus compel-
ling a slight recoil of Davies also.

By 1 p. M., it had become evident
that the attack was no feint, but
meant the capture of Corinth, with
its immense stores ; and that success
was to be struggle for right here.
Accordingly, McKean's division, on



our left, was drawn back to the ridge
next beyond our inner intrenchments,
and ordered to close with his right
on Davies's left ; Hamilton's divisioii
was moved down until its left
touched Davies's right ; while Sjtan-
ley, moving northward and eastward,
was to stand in close echelon with
McKean, but nearer Corinth. These
dispositions had scarcely been com-
pleted, under a most determined
pressure on our center by the Rebels,
which compelled Davies to give
ground and call upon Stanley for aid,
when night compelled a pause in the
engagement; Col. Mower, with one
of Stanley's brigades, having just
come into the fight ; while Hamilton,
working his way through an imprac-
ticable thicket, was just swinging in
on the enemy's left. Van Dom, sup-
posing Corinth virtually his omtb,
sent off to Bichmond an electrifying



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PEIOB'S OHAEGE AT OOBINTH.



227



^patch, claiming a great victory,
and rested for the night on his laa-
relfl.

At 3 A. M.,** the fight was reopened
by the fire of a Rebel battery which
had been planted during the night in
front and but 200 yards distant from
Fort Robinett, in our center, cover-
ing the ro^ W.N.W. from Corinth
to Chewalla. Shell were thrown into
Oorinth, exploding in streets and
lionses, and causing a sudden stam-
pede of teamsters, sutlers, and non-
combatants generally. No reply was
made by our batteries till fair day-
light ; when Capt. Williams opened
from Fort Williams with his 20-pound
Parrotts, and in three minutes si-
lenced the xmseasonable disturber;
two of whose guns were dragged off,
whOe the third, being deserted, was
taken and brought within our lines.
By this time, the ddrmishers of both
sides had wormed their way into the
swampy thickets separating the hos-
tile forces; and their shots, at first
scattering, came thicker and faster.
Occasionally, there would be a lull
in this ftisillade, swiftly followed by
considerable volleys. Batteries on
both sides now came* into ftill play,
and shells were falling and bursting
everywhere ; but no Bebel masses, nor
even lines of infantry, were visible ;
until suddenly, about 9^ a. il, a vast
column of gleaming bayonets flashed
out from the woods east of the rail-
road, and moved sternly up the Boli-
var road. Says the witnessing cor-
respondent of the Cincinnati Cam'
mercial:

** A prodifiiions mass, with gleaming bayo-
aels, Bdddemj loomed oat, dark and threat-
eoing, on the east of the railroad, moving
■lernlynp the Bolivar road in colnmn bj
divisiona. Directly, it opened ont in the



shape of a monstrous wedge, and drove for-
ward impetuonsly toward the heart of Oor-
inth. It was a splendid target for onr bat-
teries, and it was soon perforated. Hideous
gaps were rent in it, but those massive lines
were closed almost as soon as they were torn
open. At this period, the skillful manage-
ment of Gen. Rosecrans began to develop.
It was discovered that the enemy had been
enticed to attack precisely at the point
where the artillery could sweep them with
direct, cross, and enfilading fire. He had pre-
pared for such an occasion. Our shell swept
through the mass with awful effect ; but the
brave Rebels pressed onward inflexibly. Di-
rectly, the wedge opened and spread out
magnificently, right and left, like great
wings, seeming to swoop over the whole
field before them. But there was a fearful
march in front. A broad, turfy glacis, slo-
ping upward at an angle of thirty degrees
to a crest fringed with determined, disci-
plined soldiers, and clad with terrible bat-
teries, frowned upon them. There were a
few obstructions — ^fallen timber — which dis-
ordered their lines a little. But every break
was instantly welded. Our whole line open-
ed fire ; but the enemy, seemingly insensible'
to fear, or infuriated by passion, bent their
necks downward and marched steadily to
death, ii>ith their faces averted like men striv-
ing to protect thetMeVoee against a driving
storm of hail. The Yates an*} Burgess
sharp-shooters, lying snugly behind their
ru Je breastworks, poured in a destructive
fire ; but it seemed no more effectual than
if they had been firing potato-balls, except-
ing that somebody was killed. The enemy
stUl pressed onward undismayed. At last,
they reached the crest of the hill in front
and to the right of Fort Richardson, and
Gen. Davies^s division gave way. It began
to fall back in disorder. Gen. Rosecrans,
who had been watching the conflict vrith
eagle eye, and who is described as having
expressed his delight at the trap into which
Gen. Price was blindly plunging, discovered
the break, and dashed to the front, inflamed
with indication. He rallied the men by
his splendid example in the thickest of the
fight. Before the liTie was demoralized, he
succeeded in restoring it, and the men, brave
when bravely led, fought again. But it had

S 'elded much space ; and the loss of Fort
ichardson was certain. Price^s right moved
swiftly to the headquarters of. Gen. Rose-'
crans, took possesion of it, and posted
themselves under cover of the portico of
the house, and behind its comers, whence
they opened fire upon our troops on the op-
posite side of the public square. Seven ReS-
els were killed within the little inclosure in



*■ Saturday, Get i.



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238



THE AMEBIOAN OONFLIOT.



front of the General's cottage. The struc-
ture is a sort of sieve now — ^bullets have
punctured it so well. But the desperadoes
got no farther into town.

" Battle was raging about Fort Richard-
son. Gallant Richardson, for whom it was
named, fought his battery well. Had his sup-
ports fought as his artillerymen did, the rec-
ord would have been diflferent. The Rebels
gained the crest of the hill, swarmed around
the little redoubt, and were swept away
from it as a breath will dissipate smoke.
Again they swarmed like infuriated tigers.
At last, a desperate dash, with a yell. Rich-
ardson goes down to rise no more. His
supports are not on hand. The foe shouts
triumphantly and seizes the guns. The
horses are fifty yards down the hill toward
Corinth. A score of Rebels seize them.
The 56th Illinois suddenly rises from cover
in the ravine. One terrible volley, and
there are sixteen dead artillery horses and a
dozen dead Rebels. Illinois shouts, charges
up the hill, across the plateau into the bat-
tery. The Rebels fly out through embra-
sures and around the wings. The 66th yells
again and pursues.

" The Rebels do not stop. Hamilton's vet-
erans, meantime, have been working quietly
- — no lung- work, but gun- work enough. A
steady stream of fire tore the Rebel ranks
to pieces. When Davies broke, it was ne-
cessary for all to fall back. Gen. Rosecrans
thought it well enough to get Price in
deeply. A Rebel soldier says Van Dorn
sat on his horse grimly and saw it all.
•That's Rosecrans's trick,' said he; 'he's
got Price where he must suffer.' Maybe
this is one of the apocrypha of battle. A
Rebel soldier says it 's truth. But Ham-
ilton's division receded under orders — at
backward step ; slowly, grimly, face to the
foe, and firing. But when the 66th Il-
linois charged, this was changed. Da-
vies's misfortune had been remedied. The
whole line advanced. The Rebel host was
broken. A destroying Nemesis pursued
them. Arms were lung away wildly.
j They ran to the woods. They fled into
the forests. Oh ! what a shout of triumph
and what a gleaming Ime of steel followed
them. It is strange, but true. Our men
do not often shout before battle. Heavens I
what thunder there is in their throats after
yictoryl *They ' report that such a shout
was never before heard in Corinth. Price's
cnce * invincible ' now invisible legions were
broken, demoralized, fugitive, and remorse-
lessly pursued down the hill, into the
swamps, through the thickets, into the for-
ests. Newly disturbed earth shows where
they fell, and how very often.

" Gen. Van Dom's attack was to 'have
.been simultaneous with that of Price. The



Generals had arranged to carry Corinth by
one grand assault. In their reconnoissanoe
Friday evening, they had found no fort where
Fort Richardson was, and they overlooked
Fort Robinett. Ugly obstacles. When they
drove their wedge toward Corinth, one
flange on the Bolivar road, the other on a
branch of the Chewalla, they intended both
wings should extend together. Topographi-
cal and artificial obstructions interrupted
Van Dorn. He was obliged to sweep over
a rugged ravine, through dense thickets, up
hill, over a heavy abatis, with his left; it
was necessary for his center to dip down .
hill under the fire of Fort Williams, Capt.
Gau's siege-guns in the rear of the town,
and under heavy musketry, while his right
had to girdle a ridge and move over almost
insurmountable abatis under a point-blank
fire of both Fort Williams and Fort Robin-
ett, supported by a splendid division of
veteran troops. The latter fort had 10-
ponnder Parrotts, three of them — the for-
mer 80-pounder Parrotts, which devoar
men. It was a task to be accomplished, or
a terrible failure to be recorded. Price had
comparatively plain sailing, and lost no time.
Van Dorn was seven or eight minutes bo-
hind time. During that precious seven min-
utes. Price was overwhelmed, and Van Dom
was left with a feat of desperation to be ac-
complished. He tried it audaciously. His
men obeyed magnificently. Evidently, he
relied chiefly on Texas and Mississippi ; for
the troops of those States were in front.
The wings were sorely distressed in the en-
tanglement on either side. Two girdles of
bristling steel glistened on the waist of the
ridge. Two brigades, one supporting the
front at close distance, moved up solidly to-
ward the face of the fort. The Parrotts of
both redoubts were pouring shot, and shell,
and grape, and canister, into them from the
moment of command—* Forward — Charge I*
shouted clearly fV*om the brave Col. Rogers
(acting Brigadier) of Texas. They tell me
it was a noble exhibition of desperate dar-
ing. At every discharge, great gaps were
cut through their ranks. No faltering, but
the ranks were closed, and they moved stead-
ily to the front, bending their heads to the
storm. Dozens were slaughtered while
thrusting themselves through the rugged
timber, but no man wavered. Onward, on-
ward, steady and unyielding as fate, their
General in front At last, they reach the
ditch. It is an awful moment They pause
to take breath for a surge-Hi fatal pause.
Texas Rogers, with the Rebel flag m his
left, revolver in his right, advanced firing,
leaped the ditch, scaled the parapet, wavea
his banner aloft, and tumbled headlong into
the ditch. A patriot's bullet had killed him
in the moment of triomph. Five Tezana



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EBBBL DBPEAT AT OOBINTH?



who followed pitched forward through the
embrasares like logs, and fell into the fort

** Bat we anticipate. Remember that the
two redoubts are on the same ridge : Port
'Williams commanding Fort Robinett, which
is in front. ITad the Rebels taken the latter,
the gnns pf the former would have destroyed
them. Thej were separated bj a space not
exceeding one hundred and fifty yards. The
Ohio brigade, commanded by Col. Fullec,
was formed behind the ridge, on the right
of the redoubts. The left of the 63d Ohio
rested on Fort Robinett, its right joining
the left of the 27th Ohio; the d9th was
behind the 27th, supporting it; the right
of the 43d joined the left of the 63d, form-
ing a right angle with it, and extending to
Fort Williams, behind the crest of the ridge.
The 11th Missouri, Col. Mower (U. 8. A.),
was formed behind the 63d Ohio, its left in
the angle, and the regiment faced obliquely
to the right of the 63d. The positions of
these gallant regiments should be described,
because their actions are memorable.

•* CoL Fuller, perfectly collected, required
his brigade to lie flat on their faces when
not engaged. While the enemy was steadily
approaching, he warned them to wait till
they could see the whites of their eyes, then
fire coolly. It was at the moment the Tex-
an Rogers was flaunting his flag on our
parapet, that the 63d was ordered to fire.
bead Capt. McFadden gave the first com-
mand of his life to fire on the.field of battle,
and he fell mortally wounded. There were
only 250 of the 63d in the conflict; but
their volley was fearful. It is said fifty Reb-
els fell at once. Six volleys were fired, and
the Rebels were gone. The 63d again lay
down. Directly, the supporting brigade of
the Rebels advanced. The 63d was ordered
to make a half left wheel to sweep the front
of the redoubt, and the maneuver was hand-
somely executed. The 11th Missouri moved
on the left into line into the vacant space ;
the 43d moved by the right of companies
to the left, and the 27th half-faced to the
left Suddenly, the enemy appeared ; and a
furious storm of lead and grape was launched
at them. The 63d fired five or six volleys,
and the Rebels rushed upon them. A ter-
rific hand-to-hand combat ensued. The
rage of the combatants was furious and the
uproar hideous. It lasted hardly a minute,



Online LibraryHorace GreeleyThe American conflict: a history of the great rebellion in the United States of America, 1860-'64 → online text (page 31 of 113)